West Blean and Thornden Woods
Know before you go
Parking informationCharged Parking - Weekdays: £2.00 Weekends: £2.50
Grazing animalsKonik horses
Level paths lead from the car park, including a 3km (2 mile) hard track that runs the length of the reserve from west to east. 5 Variable length, way-marked trails.
Circular all weather walk (1 mile). Information boards accessible to wheelchair users.
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Best time to visitAll year round
About the reserve
This large ancient woodland that is ever-changing, has an ancient droveway through it that is almost a thousand years old. During that time there have been many changes and this continues today. Before Kent Wildlife Trust bought the wood, it was managed commercially for timber production, which is why almost half of the wood is covered in plantations of non-native conifer trees. Over the coming years, we aim to breathe life back into the woods in a variety of ways. Coppicing is good for wildlife as it creates sunny glades perfect for sun-loving plants and animals. As the trees regenerate, they form a thicket which is perfect cover for a variety of small mammals such as dormouse and birds such as Nightingale. In time the woodland naturally changes as the Oak trees mature, and these are perfect for hundreds of insect species as well as woodland birds and bats. In time the pine plantations will be removed and a greater diversity of wildlife habitats will develop. Look out for the Konik Ponies, a rare breed of pony that is helping to restore the woodland.
There are several way-marked, varied length walks to follow, a short one mile surfaced route will take you about 30 minutes to complete, longer if you spend some time looking out for some of the interesting features on the way round.